How To Use Perspective To Understand Empathy

Empathy is a leader's gateway to success. When your people succeed, so too will you. Here's how to understand and take advantage of empathy.

Perspective and Empathy

Last week we discussed how emotions can escalate a conversation to an argument. We spoke about a few questions you should ask yourself to make sure everything remains professional. Here is an exercise you should do yourself or have your employees partake in to understand the concept of empathy and how perspective can reduce the emotions and stress in the work place.

Think of this like a scene in a movie:

Step 1.  Imagine an argument between two people - write down all the things that are said by one side as if you were main character during the argument. You know their thoughts and habits.

Step 2. Now imagine, you are the other person. Write down their thoughts independently of the other knowing their thoughts and habits.

Step 3. Consolidate the two into one conversation.

Step 4. Ask yourself how much knowledge of the first person's thoughts informed the actions of the second person. Would it be any different if you didn't know what the first person had been thinking? 

We spend a significant portion of our time at work and emotions imported from our personal lives can complicate many decisions. Your goal is to be ready to curb those emotions. By using an exercise on perspective such as this one, you will realize that everyone has many things that affect their emotional states. Some are simple, while others are more complex. What's important is to recognize that they are unique and real to each of us.